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Fair To Midland
Fables From A Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times Is True
Universal Republic Records
www.fairtomidland.com


Fair To Midland is making the leap from the indie label Serjical Strike Records, owned by System Of A Down's Serj Tankian, to the major label Universal Republic Records on their latest full length album Fables From A Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times Is True. Produced by David Bottril (Tool, Peter Gabriel), the album is suffused with large productions that have a cinematic scope and chord changes that have a keen level of sophistication comparable to Coheed And Cambria. The members of Fair To Midland agree that they weren't very good for the first few years they played together but consistent practicing, songwriting, and performing live evidently brought them to the point of awesomeness that shows on Fables.

The band honed their playing on their previous EP's - The Carbon Copy Silver Lining in 2002, Inter Funda Stifle in 2004, and The Drawn And Quartered in 2006. Their succession of records show how the band cultivated their propensity for hard rock and nu metal textures and soaring vocals similar to Breaking Benjamin and vocal growls like The Used. Many of the songs have recurring motifs like crunching guitars, oscillating rhythms, and soaring vocals that hover above the melodic channels. Tracks like "Dance Of The Manatee," "Kyla Cries Cologne," and "A Seafarer's Knot" demonstrate a hard rock rotisserie in the rotating rhythms and guitar flurries that reflect the songwriting structures of their mentor's band System Of A Down. Like SOAD, Fair To Midland adds tidbits of subliminal nuances that underscore the massive flurries; like bells ringing out occasionally on "A Seafarer's Knot" and string arrangements contouring the blustering guitars on "Tall Tales Taste Like Sour Grapes," "Upgrade Brigade," and "Walls Of Jericho."

The band is meticulous at building up colossal furies and receding the stormy fluxes. The band transitions into softer panoplies on tracks like "Vice/Versa" and "The Wife, The Kids, And The White Picket Fence." The latter tune having a shimmering guitar intro that ramps into episodes of voluminous guitar raptures and vocals that soar above the action and come down through the verses. The shuttering keyboard passages on "April Fools And Eggmen" are dainty and thermal the fiery guitar rankles. Chord changes bring the song to a series of enchanting organ-toned phrases that herald a type of Narnia fantasy world.

Fair To Midland have an esoteric vibe in their music and lyrics, like in the track "Dance Of The Manatee": "Listen to my proven guarantees while you're rolling up your sleeves/ Beatin' on the chest/ But we can keep it in a jar when it's comin' cats and dogs for days/ Do you hear the concrete guarantees/ And what they've done for you, they've done for me." The lyrics have a sagacious tone to them and are deeply profound. The album concludes with the soft billowing movements on "(When The Bough Breaks) Say When" which glazes small ripples in the melodic phrases that breathe in and out systematically before fading out.

Fair To Midland's latest record Fables From A Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times Is True brings out the band's hard rock/nu metal chops. The Dallas, Texas quintet of Darroh Sudderth (lead vocals), Jon Dicken (bass), Cliff Campbell (guitars), Matt Langley (keyboards), and Brett Stowers (drums) have possibly made the album that they envisioned making when they first started the band in 1998. It shows signs of their influences and the band's own dynamics. The record has sophisticated chord changes and definition in their melodic transitions. It is an album that can be appreciated based on the band's skills as tunesmiths. The songs are well crafted whether you like hard rock/nu metal music or not.

-Susan Frances


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